What to Look for in a Marketing Agency

By Jenn Clark

Regardless of whether or not you have an in-house marketing team, there may be times when you need to outsource some of your creative services. The problem is knowing what to look for in a marketing agency. Essentially, you’re developing a partnership with another business made up of people whom you’ve never met. How do you know who to trust?

Prior to owning our own marketing agency, we’ve worked with a few advertising firms in previous jobs. We discovered our own pet peeves in the field and added these to our list of “what NOT to do’s” for business. Assuming you’ve already signed the contract with your marketing company of choice, there are a few things to know if it’s a good fit. Below, we’ve compiled a not-so-obvious list of what we think you should look for when outsourcing your marketing.

What to Look for in a Marketing Agency

You Fit Like a Puzzle

First and foremost, the right company will make sure you’re a good fit together prior to rendering any services. Because you enter a partnership of sorts with the agency, they should believe in your mission and what you’re trying to do.

For instance, we ask a lot of questions in our initial meeting like what their current efforts are, what it is they are trying to accomplish, their biggest pain points, and, overall, learning more about what it is they do. This helps us know if the services we provide are what they need and helps us gain a sense of their style. We want to ensure we like our prospective clients and vice versa. This makes working together much more productive and easier.

Your Voice is Heard

A good marketing agency is self-sufficient; a great marketing company listens to your needs. When starting a new project, campaign, or even strategy, it’s vital your voice is heard in the process. This is your company, after all, and your input is important. Marketing firms will (and should) naturally give their own advice, but this is all about your goals for your business.

From the start, communication should be present. You’ll be able to tell the agency that is right for you how often you wish to communicate, what you expect from them, and how involved you wish to be. For example, we view our clients as teammates all serving a purpose. If you would rather watch the game from home away from the action, another company may be a better fit for you who do not believe in a personalized approach.

Results are Important

For dedicated consultants, results stay on the top of their minds. They want to see that the advice they are providing or the tasks they are doing is working for you. This is because the agencies that are right for you care about seeing you succeed just as they would a friend.

They Send You New Ideas

Marketing agencies stay on top of trends and should always be inspired by new ways to help your business communicate its message. When determining what to look for in a marketing agency, look for ones that aren’t afraid to periodically present new ideas to you. It’s a sign that they are not only comfortable with you but that they care about your business.

Your Success is Their Success

In any positive relationship, those around you will be cheering you on all the way through the finish line. It should be no different with your marketing firm. Not every plan or idea will work, but the company that is a good fit for you will continuously come up with new ways for you to improve and grow. They will congratulate you when these plans work and go back to the drawing board when they don’t.

You Hear From Them Regularly

We believe in communication, and we also believe in sharing updates with our clients. It’s crucial to know what is going on with the marketing plan and where changes may need to be made. Even if you have decided to watch from the sidelines, your marketing company should be in consistent contact with you and your team.

They Admit When They Can’t Help You

If something is outside the scope or manpower of an agency, they should not be afraid to tell you. However, if they are an established firm they should have the connections to qualified people who can help you. For instance, we will never say we can do in-house printing because it’s a service we do not offer; but, we do have a list of reputable companies who can provide this type of job.

Overall, the marketing agency you choose should align with your morals, business values, and goals.